Monday, March 12, 2012

my so-called life

There are four questions/comments I get a LOT these days:
1. When are you due? -OR- Is it a girl/boy? (These seem to be the interchangeable icebreakers and, apparently, do not warrant any other form of greeting or introduction!)
2. Do twins run in your family?
3. Is this your first pregnancy?
4. Wow, two more boys? Your husband must be [insert some synonym of "thrilled" and/or "over the moon" here]!

They come almost exclusively from complete strangers, and yet, I feel compelled to answer them honestly. Part of it is noble - seizing the teachable moment and all that - but much of it is that I'm a terrible liar. I have this irrational fear that the complete stranger is going to catch me in a lie and then... yeah, I dunno. Like I should care, right? But anyway, my typical answers are either (1a) "first week in June" followed by a pause for them to pop their eyes back into their sockets, and then "but I'm having twins so I'm bigger than I would be with one." Or, (1b) "Actually, it's two boys." Then we move on to (2), "well, no, but we did fertility treatments so that's kind of beside the point," and (3) "nope, I have a three year old son," before closing with (4) "my partner and I are both very excited."

Amazingly, that's not enough for some people and they proceed to ask if I'll have a c-section, whether I will breastfeed, if I'm going to keep working, and so on. STRANGERS ask me these things. OFTEN.

Late last week, I went to the post office to mail a package. It was Thursday or Friday afternoon and I was wiped. When the woman at the desk asked when I was due (after already having made a bet with the desk agent at the next station over, which I overheard - classy), I launched into the spiel, but I just didn't have it in me to do the full song and dance. So, when we hit the question about my family history of twins, I just said "nope" and left it at that, although I did throw in a slight smile/shrug as if to say "I just have no earthly idea how these two life forms found their way into my uterus!" I took the easy way out again when she asked about my husband: "Oh yeah, he is." And then came the twist. She asked if we'd been trying long. And without any forethought, it just came out: "No, not really." I guess I was on a roll. She proceeded to tell me about how she knew people who had to try for months and months (gasp!) and weren't we just "the lucky ones!" I just smiled and nodded... and willed her to finish the flipping transaction already so I could get OUT of this Twilight Zone of a conversation.

As I got back into my car, I thought about who that woman was that I'd just impersonated - a woman who had quickly and effortlessly conceived three children just by having sex with her husband. It's hard to think of a profile more different from my own.

The next day, I started out telling the truth to the woman doing my facial, but when she used her own post-IVF-surprise-pregnancy story to encourage me to "seriously consider" an IUD after the twins are born, I just laughed and went along with it. Maybe I missed out on a chance for Each One to Teach One, but... I don't know. Would it really have made a difference if I'd outed myself, or would it just have prolonged the conversation, further preventing me from enjoying the QUIET relaxation I was paying for?

I have to admit, my forays into dishonesty were a little intoxicating. The exchanges were easier; shorter. They also felt empty, like cotton candy, but I'm kind of okay with that too. It's not my job to educate a dozen complete strangers every single day. I do believe there is value in telling my truth to increase visibility, both for same-sex parents and infertility veterans, and I plan to keep that as my default course of action, but sometimes, my feet hurt and I just want to wrap this damn conversation up so I can get home already, you know?


Emily said...

I try to be honest and visable et al, but sometimes I'm too tired to come out and explain our family to people I won't see again.

and its funny to see peoples' reaction when you say things like "no, we weren't all that shocked it was twins.".

anofferingoflove said...

oy, people are unbelievable.

i take short forays into dishonesty too when i'm out with one or both of the twins and people assume they are mine genetically and i don't correct them. sometimes it just feels like too much work and i want to get my shopping done! :P

tbean said...

You definitely live in a chattier/friendlier part of the country than I do. Or perhaps I just have a blinking sign over my head that reads: Don't talk to me, buddy! Cause I definitely got fewer questions.

That being said, "Do twins run in your family" was probably my number 1 question from strangers. S. and I feel that this is a very thinly veiled way for strangers to ask if you did fertility treatments/ivf.
The best response I found in a twin book and quickly adopted myself which was to smile and say, proudly, "They do now!" That usually shut them up.

In terms of the coming out/honesty/etc...I tend to play it case by case. Most often choose honesty but sometimes expediency and letting incorrect assumptions go uncorrected wins out.

Inlocoparentis said...

I am so glad to hear that Mark is back in the picture. ;)

Lex said...

I don't understand people. I have enough trouble correcting people who ask what my husband does for a living, so I'm going to be completely lost when it comes to being pregnant, whenever that happens.

J and DZ said...

I like tbean's response to twins running in the family " they do now!". Haha. Awesome.
I also stray from the truth sometimes to keep things simple but know that soon my toddler will be quick to answer herself. I better get used to explaining our family.

Emily said...

Sometimes it is easier to just lie and get out of the conversation for your own sanity.

Laura said...

We didn't get too many questions... more often we got condolances when people found out we were having twins... it was really annoying!